This past summer our leadership team met for our first annual strategic planning session. This wasn’t a big fancy event. It was three of us sitting in a beautiful setting at the Lakehouse at Shawnigan with laptops and thoughts on how we wanted to do better. There were many things that came out of our discussions that day and one of those was to hold quarterly team meetings.
With the changes that COVID-19 has brought to business, we too had to look at how our business operates. The biggest change was moving our team to work remotely from their homes. Remote working was not new to our office, but it was new having all but two or three of us working away from the office. Despite the stereotypes of bookkeepers and tax preparers, we are a social lot. There is a lot of collaborative problem solving that happens amongst the team. When we brought this to the first meeting of the whole Team in early September, we all agreed to meet face to face quarterly as a whole organization to work on the business, not in the business. These quarterly meetings are to discuss how we can do better serving our clients while keeping the goals identified in our strategic plan at the forefront.
At our September meeting, we reviewed the values we post to our website. Were they still relevant after eight years? Did they meet the needs of our clients, suppliers and partners? As a group we analyzed them word for word and came up with something the whole team could be proud of! I would like to share these with you, they are important to us.
Accountable – we are responsible for our actions.
Over the years we have developed rigorous policies and procedures to ensure each task is handled in the same way no matter which client we are working with. Our client management system tracks deadlines for each client, ensuring all compliance filings are met on time.
Integrity – we act in an ethical manner, honour our commitments, and assure the confidentiality and protection of information.
Professional Standards – We possess the required qualifications and expertise to carry out our duties and are committed to investment in education and technology to deliver exceptional service.
We frequently hold “lunch ‘n learn” events. Some are internal training on software and procedures, and for some we bring in a speaker to educate our team on their expertise. We have Certified Professional Bookkeepers, we attend the annual payroll update through the Canadian Payroll Association, attend the Video Tax News updates and ethics courses, and attend our software supplier training. This year we committed to embracing bookkeeping in multiple cloud solutions and automating the data entry we process for each client. With the changes the Canada Revenue Agency brought about regarding the filing of personal tax returns, we are now able to securely send our clients digital copies of tax returns and receive secure signatures on documents. We even created a portal for our clients to send us documents securely from our website.
Respectful – We treat everyone with courtesy, consideration and are committed to long term relationships.
We truly enjoy working with each and every one of our clients, whether they are a once a year personal tax client or a bookkeeping client we work with on a daily basis. Each is important to us. We are in for the long haul, working for our clients’ success.
Principled – We adhere to a strict code of conduct and are committed to best business practices, professional care and fairness.
Through our association with CPB Canada, we are required to follow the Code of Conduct. If a client feels we have not met these standards and we have not been able to resolve a concern within the office, the client can apply to the Ombudsman of CPB Canada to intervene. Our professional association holds an annual conference each year. At the conference, we hear about new and innovative ways to improve the services we provide.
I think our service commitment to our clients sums up everything:
We respect and value our clients and are dedicated to service excellence by anticipating and exceeding their expectations. We are committed to working closely with our clients’ team and advisors.
At the end of November, we met virtually for another quarterly meeting. As a team, we reviewed our goals from the strategic plan and worked through more tasks that will make the client experience at Freedom Accounting Inc. even better.
If you are looking for a Team that will work with you for the long term, please reach out and let’s have a chat!
Give us your books – take back your life! ®